ED Magedson – Founder
One Element Inc5505 Roswell Rd, Atlanta, GA Atlanta, Georgia USA
One Element Inc. New Element Inc deceptive management, pyramid scheme, smart circle company Atlanta Georgia
Say the phrase “pyramid scheme” in front of any devoted employee and you will be called a cancer within the company and asked to stop “negging out.” Being negative or “negging out” means having the slightest doubt about the company or voicing the smallest concern, and they take that very seriously. The morning meetings are basically a pep rally where you will run around and high five each other, and scream JUICE (Join Us In Creating Excitement) every 2 minutes. Oh, and you won’t get paid for the two hour morning meetings, but they’ll tell you otherwise.
Companies like these prey on the young. Every person in the office, including the managers, is below the age of 30 which is a good indication that this is not a career by any sense of the word. As mentioned in another post, they want young and disposable people, who are brand new out of college and don’t know any better than to buy into the sweet talk. The turnover rate is ridiculously high, with 80-90% of employees quitting in 3 months or less.
1) The pay: you are paid either minimum wage or commission, whichever is higher. You will never see the amount of revenue and will be frowned upon if you ask to see the numbers. You have to take the manager’s word on what you earned during a pay period. Sam’s Club gives 40% of the revenue to the company; from that the manager keeps 22% and the reps get 18%. A year ago, rep commission used to be 20%. Employees were given a 24 hour notice of a pay cut. The excuse used was that Sam’s was reducing One Element’s cut from 40% to 36% because of excessive product returns. A month after the pay cut based on the excuse, employees were told during a meeting that after Sam’s gives One Element 40%, the company pays off the clients and shipping, and can only give reps 18%. Bottom line, the managers wanted 2% more of the cut and came up with an elaborate lie to do so. When I tried to talk to the manager about it, I was told that I was overstepping my boundaries.
2) The gas compensation: You will be driving from the office in Roswell to a Sam’s Club every day. The managers give you $11.50/day in gas. Here is how they got to that number. The government pays you back 57 cents per mile in taxes for business travel and the company matches that. One Element claims that the average distance between the office and the Sam’s stores is 20 miles and pays you a flat $11.50(20x.57). The average distance is another lie told to cut overhead costs. The Sam’s Clubs OEI works with are in Duluth, Sharpsburg, Marietta, Tucker, Lithonia, Douglasville, Hiram, Morrow, McDonough and Clairmont. Do the calculation yourself and that makes the average distance 27 miles. That is $4 PER DAY that you are not getting. If you work 10 days per rotation, that is $80/month in gas that should be on your paycheck but is not.
3)The clients: The parent company, Smart Circle, owns some of the products. Body Comfort and Whip it are two examples. Smart Circle puts high end prices on the website, so reps can sell it for “80% off” at Sam’s. A shady way to make the products seem worth more than they are.
4)The sales: You will be told that marketing is different from sales, because marketing isn’t as persistent and obnoxious. Then you will be taught ways to be persistent and obnoxious. You will be taught the Jones Effect which is to say things like “the last person bought 5 (of the product)” when you haven’t had a sale all day. Then there is Fear of Loss aka “We’re only here once a year”. Another lie to boost sales, every product goes into a given Sam’s once a quarter. So if you don’t have any qualms about lying to customers to make a couple more dollars on your paycheck, you should be ok in this department.
All in all, it’s only possible to put up with this company for one or two months, I didn’t learn anything new past that. It can be an in between job if can afford to drive 50-60 miles a day. If you have a family to support, you will be looking at single digit numbers in your bank account. There is little to no skill required for this job, you will be selling products in a kiosk inside of a Sam’s Club. If you have run a lemonade stand or a bake sale, you will be able to do this. Ask specific questions to your Sam’s interviewer and see how comfortable they are answering them. Don’t ask the managers, they have mastered the art of lying. Ask questions like:
-Is this a Smart Circle company?
OEI doesn’t have a lot of reports online but smart circle does. They will try to keep that information from you.
-How many new offices has OEI opened up in the past 2 years?
If getting to management takes 6-9 months, the amount should be more than the 4 offices that have been opened (2 of which shut down in a year).
-How much product will I have to carry in my car during set up and break down?
While most of the product gets shipped to Sam’s, you will have to carry banners, extra product and set up material. After break down, you may have to keep them in your car overnight before returning it to the office.
-How many days in advance will I get my schedule? How many weekends will I work?
Schedules are usually given 3-4 days in advance. Don't expect any structure in scheduling. You will be working most weekends, definitely Saturdays.
-Do the managers pay themselves from the sales?
During your interview, the field rep will tell you that Phase 1 and 2 are commission, 3 and 4 are salary. That’s a lie. Also, since the manager is the owner, who pays his so-called salary?
-How many times a year do you conduct interviews?
Correct answer- Everyday. The company hires 3-5 people a day. Again, huge turnover rate, so they have to keep cycling people in and out.
Don’t bother asking about benefits, there aren’t any.
If you don’t want the job, don’t send them the three reasons why you should be hired. That’s what they call closing the interview, similar to closing a sale. They are taught to make you feel under qualified so you will fight for the job.
This is absolutely unequivocally a pyramid scheme. The managers pay themselves from your sales, and his promoting manager gets 3% of his company’s sales and so on. Every company on the planet has some hierarchy in their system and makes profit off of sales, but it’s OEI’s constant need to lie to employees and play mind games that make it a terrible place to work at.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/27/2013 09:40 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/one-element-inc/atlanta-georgia/one-element-inc-new-element-inc-deceptive-management-pyramid-scheme-smart-circle-compa-1079671. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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